Thursday, September 01, 2016




Cohort to launch in mid-September; 15 women entrepreneurs will be involved; Two peer-selected companies will each receive a $25,000 investment as part of a new partnership with Village Capital Communities; $50,000 grant from SBA will foster new opportunities
Chicago-based technology incubator 1871 announced Thursday the twelve businesses that will make up the third cohort of WiSTEM, 1871’s unique program designed to cultivate success and opportunities for women in technology. The 12 companies and their founders will begin a sixteen-week curriculum on September 20, 2016.  Since the program launched Fall 2015, a total of 26 companies participated in WiSTEM in two successful cohorts

“The fundamental goal of WiSTEM has always been to produce, support, and positively impact the lives of women entrepreneurs,” said 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. “WiSTEM has surpassed and continues to surpass these goals by cultivating an environment that balances business and community and fosters opportunities across a wide spectrum. We are excited to welcome this new cohort of women to WiSTEM and the 1871 community.”

This cohort will benefit from a new $50,000 funding opportunity through a partnership with Village Capital Communities, with the top two peer-ranked companies each being awarded $25,000 as an investment. This is a new element of the program that will be launched for the first time with this cohort.

A focus on fostering opportunity for women entrepreneurs in technology has been a key objective for 1871. As part of the WiSTEM effort, it is customary for 1871 to welcome women business leaders to share their stories with the entire community. United States Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith, First Lady Diana Rauner, Springboard Ventures founder Kay Koplovitz, uBeam founder Meredith Perry, Vosges Haut-Chocolat founder Katrina Markoff, Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), and Digital Citizen Fund co-founder and CEO Roya Mahboob have all recently visited 1871. 1871 has made it a point to connect with other women-led organizations such as Ms. Tech, Women Tech Founders and Lesbians Who Tech to create and host events centered around women entrepreneurs. Additionally, it was recently announced that 1871 would be the host location for Reboot Academy, an innovative organization that trains women for re-entry into the technology workforce.

“It has always been my mission to inspire and empower women entrepreneurs, “ says Vosges Haut-Chocolat founder Katrina Markoff. “The new cohort will undoubtedly help shape America’s culture, economy, and future at large.”

The members of the third WiSTEM class are:

Neurocern - Anitha Rao, MD, Co-Founder and CEO

Recordly - Anna Maikova,  Co-Founder and Marketing Manager

Wekaw - Angela Wang, Founder, and CEO

WeSolv - Stella Ashaolu, Founder, and CEO

ClassCrasher - Marylynne Schwartz, Founder + Ellena Berger, Co-Founder

TheSocReports - Carol Fowler, Co-Founder, and CEO

FetchFind - Jamie Migdal, Founder, and CEO
SpringFour - Rochelle Gorey, Co-Founder, and CEO
Taylored Wines - Rachel Portell, Founder, and CEO
Kaizen Health - Mindi Knebel, Founder, and CEO
VirtualKEY - Resha Shroff, Founder, and CSO
Olfactif - Tara Swords, Co-Founder, and CEO
“Women leaders have become a rising demographic in the tech community, and 1871 has worked tirelessly to build networks and opportunities for women entrepreneurs,” said Jessica Williams, WiSTEM co-facilitator. “I am excited to see how the previous cohort will be able to assist the new members.”
“It is an honor to work with and join the journey with this group of dedicated women entrepreneurs,” added Nicole Yeary, WiSTEM co-facilitator, and Ms. Tech founder and CEO. “It is inspiring to see the growth and evolution of each company and their founder throughout the sixteen weeks. There’s no better feeling than seeing our mission taking shape through our work with WiSTEM and subsequently helping entrepreneurs develop game-changing solutions to real and relevant problems."

The WiSTEM curriculum and its learning objectives are designed around three pillars: technology, community, and capital. Leadership sessions cover topics around business acumen and relationship building. Peer-to-peer learning and knowledge-sharing are critical and every week the "Cohort Confab" provides space for the entrepreneurs to ask for help with present challenges and celebrate their successes together.

When it comes to connecting to capital, the program’s focus is on pitch training and fundraising strategy. This not only helps the entrepreneurs perfect their pitch, but also includes a parallel benefit of meeting guest judges who happen to be investors, potential advisors, and industry leaders. About technology, 1871’s existing network of expert mentors hosting workshops and office hours helps tremendously in teaching the entrepreneurs in WiSTEM the critical components of technology to hire the best tech talent and to make the best decisions when it comes to running their businesses.

“This new cohort of women will continue breaking boundaries in and around 1871, said Julie Novack, founder of PartySlate and member of the first WiSTEM cohort. “This cohort is guaranteed to create a group of women who will continue to make and reshape other women as leaders in the technology community.”

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About the third WiSTEM cohort companies
Neurocern - Anitha Rao, MD
Neurocern is a dementia software solution that empowers family caregivers and hospital providers with neuroscience-based diagnostic and care solutions that are unique for each patient, resulting in improved health and lower healthcare costs.

Recordly - Anna Maikova
Recordly is an interviewing and transcription app for media professionals, that uses a smartwatch as a remote control for tracking and highlighting audio recorded on the smartphone.
Wekaw - Angela Wang
Wekaw believes nobody is happy 24/7. They are a bridging technology service which anonymously and immediately connects customers to talk to a professional of their choice.

WeSolv - Stella Ashaolu
WeSolv is a platform that engages talented professional students and companies by efficiently solving real challenges. WeSolv provides visibility and access to both the world’s leading companies and students through case competition-like Enterprise Challenges. WeSolv provides the only existing centralized network of MBA students across the nation.
ClassCrasher - Marylynne Schwartz, Ellena Berger
ClassCrasher facilitates the discovery and booking of kids’ activities by making it easy for parents to find the perfect class to fit any schedule without the hassle of monthly subscription fees or limiting participation  to only drop-in classes.
TheSocReports - Carol Fowler
TheSocReports collects and delivers social media insights on a weekly basis that are actionable so that subscribers can change their social media behavior for better results.
FetchFind - Jamie Migdal  
FetchFind is the world’s only integrated E-Learning and content marketplace for the pet industry. Courses like pet first aid, canine behavior and customer service basics turn pet enthusiasts into pet pros. Pet industry businesses also use content to train and retain staff.  
SpringFour - Rochelle Gorey
SpringFour provides B-to-B solutions for banks, nonprofits, employers—or frankly any enterprise that wants to help their customers or their employees take control of their finances—to provide ready access to trusted, vetted money-saving tools and resources through customizable web-based applications.
Taylored Wines - Rachel Portell
Taylored Wines connects oenophiles with world class, limited production boutique wines via a beautifully simple and innovative marketplace. Through the vineyard-to-glass marketplace, the antiquated wine distribution model that connects consumers to the best boutique wines with a single click is streamlined.  
Kaizen Health - Mindi Knebel
Kaizen’s Health technology and people connect the rideshare industry with health systems while addressing technology barriers and addressing the need for these services from a public health perspective.
VirtualKEY - Resha Shroff
VirtualKEY introduces a smart & secure way to exchange keys. The land grab strategy hinges on providing the smartlock for free to increase smartlock adoption and incent hosts to change from traditional methods.
Olfactif - Tara Swords
Olfactif began as a niche perfume subscription service, sending curated, high-end fragrance collections to customers each month and selling the companion full bottles on the website. Other lines of business include à la carte samples for subscribers and nonsubscribers, as well as a separate men’s subscription service.

About WiSTEM

WiSTEM was originally funded in part by the Google for Entrepreneurs’ #40Forward initiative and is also supported by the Lefkofsky Family Foundation, Wild Ophelia, the Motorola Mobility Foundation, Coca-Cola, the U.S. Small Business Administration, KPMG, and AT&T. The curriculum is focused around three primary areas—connecting women technology entrepreneurs to capital, technology, and community. The capital pillar includes connecting women tech entrepreneurs with potential investors, supporting women with additional training as they seek investment, and working with investment groups that are seeking to invest directly in women-owned businesses. The technology pillar focuses on providing technical resources to women tech entrepreneurs and fostering opportunities for women entrepreneurs to understand their technical requirements and the best solutions available. Finally, the community pillar revolves around mentorship, workshops, and community facing events for the participants in WiSTEM and the general public. The curriculum portion of WiSTEM will last sixteen weeks. There will be a Showcase at the conclusion of the program. For more information, visit

About 1871

1871 is the home of more than 450 early-stage, high-growth digital startups. Located in The Merchandise Mart, this 130,000 square foot facility is also the headquarters of nationally recognized accelerators Techstars Chicago and the Good Food Business Accelerator; impact investing fund Impact Engine, and half a dozen industry-specific incubators, and the state's leading technology advocate, the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition. 1871 supports a number of programs to promote inclusion of women and veterans in Chicago’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, including its WiSTEM program to foster opportunities for women entrepreneurs. It is also a host facility for the Google/CODE2040 Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) program. It is the second home to Chicago-based VCs, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, MATH Venture Partners, Hyde Park Angels, OCA Ventures, OurCrowd and Chicago Ventures, as well as satellite offices for Northwestern University, University of Illinois, University of Chicago, Loyola University Chicago, Illinois Institute of Technology, and DeVry. 1871 has fast become recognized as the hub for the city’s entrepreneurial/technology ecosystem and has been featured in Inc. Magazine, TechCrunch, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Crain’s Chicago Business among other top media. 1871 is the flagship project of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center. For more about 1871, visit

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